What To Pack For A Road Trip

What To Pack For A Road Trip: 20 Essential Items For Your Cross Country Adventure

There’s nothing quite like the magic of the open road. From iconic highways and national parks, roadside stands, quaint Airbnb’s, and the endless smiles from strangers you meet along the way- this is just the beginning of what can only be described as an exhilarating adventure across our vast country. 

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a novice road tripper, the idea of planning a coast-to-coast journey may seem daunting. After all, you will be encountering varied terrain, different climates and not to mention crossing through four time zones. While this might make your eyes widen and head spin, (as it certainly did ours,) the best advice is to embrace the uncertainty, plan a loose route with must see stops, pack the essentials and take the leap, you wont regret it.

Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.

Jack Kerouac

Not sure what to pack for a road trip? We listed our tried and true favorites for on the road and for our must see stops- we hope it inspires your journey to pack light and enjoy the ride!

Our advice: keep in mind the items that you use everyday, items you can’t live without and won’t be able to find on the road and pack those first! Without further ado, here are our top recommendations on what to pack for a road trip.

1. Hydro Flask Reusable Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is essential, especially when traveling. The Hydro Flask allowed us to refill with ease and it kept our water cool even on our long hikes. Another major plus is no unnecessary spending on plastic water bottles and zero plastic waste!

Shop Hydro Flask | $39

2. Everlit First Aid Kit

While adventuring can have its twists and turns, it’s always smart to be prepared with a first aid kit for you and your travel mates. We choose the Everlit First Aid Kit for all outdoor activities and emergencies. You know your body and families’ needs best, so customize your kit with all the important items you need.

Shop Everlit | $40

3. Paravel Packing Cubes

Organizers rejoice. But seriously, these are lifesavers. We were able to organize our essentials and pack efficiently with the packing cubes. They are sustainably made and well designed with a clear portion across the top to see your packed items with ease. These fit perfectly in our GOT Bag and of course in our Paravel Aviator Carryon (which we love as well!)

Shop Paravel | $65

4. GOT Bag Travel Backpack

We are big fans of the GOT Bag company for many reasons. One being that each product is made from recycled ocean plastic and the result is a no-fluff perfect travel accessory. The GOT roll-top travel backpack was perfect for our multiple needs and roomy enough to pack a lot, including our laptops in the removable sleeve.

Shop GOT Bag |$149

5. Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket

This was the item we most grabbed for on the road. No matter the climate, the Patagonia jacket was essential in keeping us warm and dry. Rugged enough for hikes in national forests and stylish enough for going out at night in mountain towns. The Nano Puff is the only jacket you need.

Shop Patagonia | $199

6. Bella Dahl Pocket Jogger

For those long days on the road or lounging at your Airbnb, the Bella Dahl Jogger is the perfect everyday pant that won us over for comfort and style. Easily transitional these pants were perfect for driving, a day out exploring or lounging. We love the different color combos, drawstring waist and deep pockets.

Shop Bella Dahl | $136

7. Gaiam Essentials Yoga Mat

Yoga does the body good, especially after long drives. Although there are many travel yoga mats on the market, we opted for our tried and true Gaiam Essential mat for our trip as the travel ones seemed to be a bit thin. We were elated to roll out our mat after each long drive for some quick stretches before hitting the road again!

Shop Gaiam | $20

8. Organic Olivia’s Not Your Average Probiotic

Let’s face it, you eat weird food when you’re on the road at weird times. When you’re off your routine, grab for OO’s Probiotic to keep you regular, your body will thank you for it. This is hands down the best 3-in-1 probiotic, prebiotic and enzyme blend out there and as a bonus its shelf stable- aka no refrigeration necessary. Run don’t walk to snag a bottle or two!

Shop Organic Olivia | $49

9. Trtl Travel Pillow

The loop, wrap and snap trend of the Trtl travel pillow caught on and we loved the ease and comfort of this gem. It was small enough to pack and easy enough to use to get some much needed rest as the passenger.

Shop Trtl | $34

10. Pure Dharma Relief CBD Healing Balm

This. is. a. lifesaver. Not only is the scent of eucalyptus and cypress mesmerizing, but the soothing CBD balm relaxed our taxed muscles at every stage of our journey. Pure Dharma’s Relief CBD Balm works specifically to reduce and relieve joint pain, muscle tension and inflammation. This was our go-to post driving, hiking, skiing or surfing. *We are big fans of Pure Dharma and also could not live without their Renew CBD Hand + Body Creme

Shop Pure Dharma | $44

11. Yeti Tundra 35 Hard Cooler

Having a dependable cooler in the backseat was helpful when storing fresh food and keeping drinks cold. The Yeti maintained its cooling temps well past 2 days on the road and was durable and compact enough to take in and out of Airbnbs. On the pricier side, but well worth it.

Shop Yeti | $275

12. Cuisinart Electric Kettle

Okay, so while this wouldn’t fall under a packing essential in normal cases, for us, this was one of our most used items. We are avid herbal tea and Four Sigmatic fans (see below!) so having our own electric kettle was a staple while on the road. It was perfect for quick oatmeal in morning before hitting the road too. There are many travel electric kettle options, but we decided to save our money and bring what we had at home- it was easy to pack and light to tote in and around our stops.

Shop Cuisinart | $99

13. Four Sigmatic Elixirs

Medicinal mushrooms are our go-to for optimum health- whether its Chaga for an immune boost, Lions Mane for focus, Cordyceps to climb that mountain, or Reishi to chill and relax the mind, Four Sigmatic had our back the entire trip.

Shop Four Sigmatic |$30

14. Danner Hiking Boots

We’re big fans of Danner, so it was a no brainer to bring our versatile boots with us on the road. Built to withstand multiple climates and terrains, we knew Danner would double as a hiking boot on the trail and in the mountains and exploring new towns. This is our go-to for hiking boots.

Shop Danner | $199

15. Icebreaker Merino Wool Base layers

Our Icebreaker base layers were perfect and versatile for Spring skiing in Colorado and cooler desert temps in Zion and Moab. We love the sustainable efforts behind this company and all of their warm and comfortable products.

Shop icebreaker | $55+

16. Navitas Cacao Goji Power Snacks

This plant based superfood combines dates, goji, cacao and chia seeds for a quick snack anytime. We tossed these in our hiking pack for long tours and snacked on the cute squares with a sliced apple when we needed a burst of energy on the road. We restocked our power snacks anytime we found them at a market.

Shop Navitas |$9

17. Made Out of Stars by Meera Lee Patel

Pack a great book, better yet, pack a book that doubles as a journal so you can reflect and do a little inner work. While exploring and connecting to the great outdoors you can connect to your inner self. Beautifully illustrated prompts and exercises were a great way to reflect, self realize and ponder what connects us, what makes us unique and how beautiful life is.

Shop Meera Lee Patel | $14

18. NICEAO Laptop Stand

With remote work still going strong, the ability to travel for longer periods becomes a bit easier. While we were on the road, we found the sturdy laptop stand by NICEAO to be the perfect sidekick to our work day flow. Sometimes hotels, Airbnb’s and the car do not have ample space nor a great setup for a zoom call or sending emails. With this aluminum laptop stand, we were able to work with ease no matter our location and fix our posture too. This is a win win.

Shop NICEAO | $19

19. Ray Ban Polarized Sunglasses

Really any polarized sunglasses will do here. The truth is, the sun is amazing and you should definitely get your morning sunlight for optimum vitamin D absorption (yes, without sunglasses), but when driving for hours or out and about, protect those eyes with some polarizing shades. We’ve had our Ray Bans for years and they’ve stood the test of time on all of our journeys, so naturally we recommend these classics.

Shop Ray Ban | $186

20. Solmate Socks

Who doesn’t love a good pair of comfy socks? Especially when they are eco-friendly and responsibly made in a variety of patterns and sold mismatched. These socks were our favorite to travel with and wear lounging or with our Danners. Snag yourself some Solmate socks for your next trip.

Shop Solmate Socks | $22

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